Well, I just got back from Riviera Maya, Mexico and it was a pretty painless experience this time. I left on a Tuesday and came back on a Sunday. Both flights were packed despite traveling on kind of off days. Flying into Cancun and going through Customs was completely different than it was when I went in February. Getting off of the plane they herded us past the normal Customs lanes that have actual agents. We were taken to their new automated Customs machines at the end of the room. Despite there being a very long line, I actually got through pretty quickly. It's a little difficult to use the machine for some people. You really have to pay attention and follow directions to a T in order for the machine to work properly and get you through. Basically, it has a scanner where you scan your passport, wait 1-2 mins, and then plastic doors open to a chamber. You then have to stand on a yellow circle on the floor and there is a camera you have to look into. It will then scan your face, which could take a minute or two if you aren't lined up properly in the camera. Once it gets a good reading, it prints out a ticket, and then more plastic doors open and you're on your way to luggage claim.
Once outside at Cancun airport, I noticed that no Delta Vacations reps are outside the doors. This happened the last time I went in February. Thankfully I remembered that you have to walk past all of the other vendors outside to the canopy where the buses are and then Delta Vacations has a booth there. This was where I picked up my private transfer to the resort.
The resort I went to is actually the other side of the resort I went to in February which was El Dorado Seaside Palms. This resort is called El Dorado Seaside Suites. It is wildly different from the Palms side. Going forward in this review, I will refer to them as Palms and Seaside to differentiate. The Seaside check-in process is a lot different and less personal than Palms. More like every other Mexico resort. Seaside has two buildings, the main lobby and the building where the rooms are. These are separated by quite some distance and a jungle-like area. To get between the two buildings, it is necessary to take a golf cart. Guests at Seaside do have exchange privileges with Palms and can use their facilities, bars, restaurants, pools, and beach. I stayed in an Ocean Front Pool Swim Up Infinity Section room. This room lets out into the main Infinity pool. There are other swim-ups at this resort and they have private pools on their balconies and they do not let out into the main pool. Some people I talked to were kind of upset about their room because they got the two categories confused and they wanted the room that I had. The pool at Seaside is definitely the party pool. They have activities all day long, loud music, and foam parties, among other things. It stays busy until about 6pm and then kind of empties out for the day. There is one swim-up bar and it is BUSY. Sometimes there is a poolside server walking around but not always. There is one restaurant in this building called Driftwood, it serves breakfast and lunch only. If you want other food, you have to either walk to the Palms side which isn't far, or a golf cart to the main Seaside building. But, here at this resort, you have to really check which times restaurants are open. Some have odd hours. That is one complaint I heard from other guests. For example, you may want a buffet but it may only be open for dinner that day or the other buffet may be closed on certain days. Confusing. The restaurants at this resort, on both sides, despite that little hiccup, are excellent. My personal favorite was the Mexican restaurant, La Carreta. They make homemade tableside salsa and it is phenomenal. The nightlife on Seaside is basically non-existent. If you want to do something at night like entertainment or go to a bar, you have to go to the Palms side. This is another complaint I heard from other guests. But once you get over there, they do have excellent entertainment and really fun activities at the main bar Guacamayas. The beach at Seaside left something to be desired. It was very rocky, filled with seaweed, and the water was really choppy. Didn't really see a lot of people on the beach on this side or in the water. However, the beach on Palms side is clean, has clear water, minimal seaweed, and is not as rocky. The rooms at Seaside are a little more modern than Palms but essentially the same layout. The only thing that really annoyed me while I was staying here was the constant phone calls or knocks on the door at all hours of the night. For things such as, to confirm your room service, and then again to check to see how it was, your concierge calling to check on things, the front desk calling, etc. I appreciate that they care, but it was just frustrating after a while.
All in all, it was a good trip. It was nice to see the other side of this beautiful resort. However, to be honest, I really like the Palms side a lot better. The Palms Premium section rooms are excellent, pools are quieter, beach is nicer, easier to walk around, and more nightlife and restaurants were conveniently located. I would recommend Seaside for someone who is not picky and just wants a party pool and that's their only concern. I honestly would recommend Palms over Seaside any day. Especially because if someone really wants the party pool, they can just walk over and visit it for the day.
Going home was pretty painless. No construction on the roads in Mexico on Sunday. Got to the airport with 3 hours to spare which was nice compared to last time. Customs in Detroit is a little different now too. Now you don't even need to pull your passport out. You just look into a camera and they know who you are and send you on your way.